When it should be done
In most patients, this will be an additional investigation to others like MRI. It is a specialist investigation which should only be requested by a spine specialist with a very specific question.
When it should not be done
It should not be done to 'just have a look what might cause the pain'.
Commonly asked questions
Is the radiation harmful?
Any radiation is potentially harmful, which is why it needs a very clear indication. SPECT combines radiation by a weak radioisotope and x-ray radiation from the CT. Both are weak and usually do not cause any harm.
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Does the scan show my pain?
The answer is simple: It sadly does not! However, it shows potential pain generators but needs to be taken in context with a clinical history and examination as well as other investigations.